I found out I was pregnant with my first baby during Sydney’s 2021 lockdown. The days were short, the evenings were long, the isolation was boring, and the nausea was a nightmare.
The one thing that kept me going was the planning: for my birth, yes, but mostly for my baby, and those incredible first few weeks when we finally got to meet him and bring him home.
During that lockdown, we bought our first home, complete with a second bedroom with a big skylight that felt like a nursery the moment I walked in.
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There, I thought, under that skylight, is where I’ll sit with him when he comes home from the hospital. That’ll be the payoff: nine long months of pregnancy, so I can bring him into this room and stare at him all day in the sunshine.
Well, you know what they say about plans and making God laugh.
Nine long months? We barely made it to seven.
Following a diagnosis of early onset preeclampsia, my son, Max, was born by emergency c-section at 32 weeks.
I knew, as I was wheeled into the operating theatre, that we wouldn’t be bringing him home to the room we’d so carefully prepared for his arrival.
I knew he’d be taken straight to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or the NICU, and that I likely wouldn’t have a chance to see him – and certainly wouldn’t be able to hold him – before he was whisked away.
What I didn’t know – what I tried, through tears and frantic Googling, desperately to work out – was what that meant.
Whether your baby was planned or unplanned, if you’re anything like me, you’ve been imagining bringing your baby home since the first time you saw that second line on that stick. The realisation that won’t be happening is an absolute gut-punch.
I can’t take away that pain (although, of course, I wish I could), but I hope I can make the transition a little less jarring by sharing a few of the things I wish I’d been told before I was wheeled in to see Max in his humidicrib for the first time.